Aquatic specialist APEM has undertaken ornithological surveying to support a revised planning application for EDF Renewable’s Neart na Gaoithe offshore wind farm. Located on Scotland’s east coast in the Firth of Forth, the project’s revised application recently received approval from the Scottish Government.
Advancements in the efficiency of turbine technology allowed EDF to reduce the number of turbines from 75 to 54, thus reducing the overall size of the wind farm. The maximum turbine tip height was also reduced to 208m above sea level.
APEM’s assessments fed into the application’s environmental impact assessment (EIA). By undertaking a bird study of a similar wind farm located off the English coast, APEM demonstrated that the wind farm’s turbines did not displace key avian species, including auks and kittiwakes. This helped inform the ornithological section of the revised Neart na Gaoithe EIA, which determined the wind farm would have a negligible impact on the displacement of these species.
The project will make use of higher capacity turbines to ensure that, despite reducing the total number of turbines, it will still generate the same 450MW of energy. The wind farm is expected to be operational by 2023.